Tuesday, 25 January 2011

So what does 2011 hold?

Ok, so just a little more background before we get into some more useful stuff...

"What are my plans for 2011" I hear you ask?

Ok, I didn't hear that, but I'll tell you anyway!

The Tri season is still a long way off of course but I have not been resting on my laurels. I tend to take the pressure off myself during the off-season. I train a lot on "feel" and really mix it up. At this time of year, I spend a lot of time listening to my body. I train how and when I fancy. I also try to address some of the weaknesses that I identified in 2010.

I try to avoid a huge amount of structure this time of year - again, keeping the pressure off. I believe "getting all serious" this time of year can cause a lot of stress (mental as much as physical). By the time the season comes round, you often see atheletes "burned out" from getting too serious, too soon.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not just sat on the sofa eating cake! I'm getting out every day - often twice and am conservitively racking up about 10 - 12 hours each week. Modest by many IM athletes standards - but hey I'm a busy boy!

At the mo' it's strength and endurance for me. So long off road runs and fun on the MTB (plus road miles when I really have to!)

However, I truly believe that completely negleting speed in the off season is a big mistake so I am still getting in tempo runs, intervals, horrible turbo sessions and hills. How many athletes spend the winter "getting the miles in" only to find themselves, in their first race effort of the season, wondering where all their speed went!

I'm a racer at heart though, so I've been packing those in as well. MTB Trail Quest races and an active season of Cross-Country (North Mids League and County Champs)

Leicester County Cross Country

The Local Road League got underway with the Barrow 6. I guided my pal Haseeb for that. Haseeb is a phenomenally talented blind triathlete. We flew round in 35:42. My heartrate was a steady 152 BPM which is a good 5 beats below my normal Half Marathon HR - so that all bodes very well.

Haseeb and Dunc at the Barrow 6 mile Road Race

Hasseb is also going for a fast time at the London Marathon. He's asked me to guide him. Works for me! I've always struggled with Spring marathons, just because, when run hard, they can take a lot out of you and can leave you needing about a month of pretty serious recovery - just when you should be getting ready for the Tri Season! At least by guiding Has' I may be able to stay a little more inside my comort zone. Not much though....the guy wants to smash 3 hours!

So there's my focus for the spring - Thanks Has'!

Few short term goals....

I have a Trail Quest this weekend in the Peak District, that I'm hoping to smash. I know the area pretty well, so that should help.

I'm then actually off to Morzine for a long weekend on the Snowboard. Hope to get some running in the Mountains while I'm out there!

In March I have a 21 mile fell race in Edale coming up and the Ashby 20 mile road race, where I will most probably guide Haseeb and test our pacing for London.

Claire, Myself and a group of our bestest mates have a cheeky little trip planned to Mallorca in April / May to find some sunshine and mountains.

On our return, with our new found bike legs, we'll be taking on a few sportives, including the Midland Monster and the awesome Fred Whitton


Once the Tri season gets under way. I'll be picking my races quite carefully. I'll be needing some serious bike and run strength for the Norseman, so plan to tackle a few tough middle distance events. "Day in the Lakes" has been entered and a few other are "on the radar".

So the "biggy" is Norseman - more on that later. Think it deserves a blog post of it's own! I may round the season off by joining Claire at Challenge Barcelona but we'll wait and see how the piggy bank looks!

Stay fit and well guys...


Monday, 24 January 2011

So who am I?

Well it's a question we all ask ourselves every once in a while...

We are moving from modernist calculation toward postmodernist simulation, where the "self" is a multiple, distributed system...

But I've no idea what any of that means so we'll just have to make do with a little of my history!

I grew up in the south of England. A skinny beanpole. Referred to, affectionately, by my politically incorrect father as "Oxfam body".

It was in Salisbury that I went to school where I soon discovered that I had a real aptitude for kicking a football in every direction other than the one that was intended. Since football was a sport my school was famous for - it offered little in the way of alternatives. It seemed academia was my only real option - so I immersed myself in more scholarly pursuits.

However, I quickly discovered, that by acting the fool during "football", I would be "punished" by being made to run around the football pitch for the duration of the lesson. Something I rather enjoyed and certainly a fate far preferable to having cold, wet, footballs kicked repeatedly at my head by the big boys.

So the joy of (and less ineptitute for) running was quickly discovered.

I also enjoyed swimming and hacking around the Wiltshire countryside on bikes that had been mackled together in the shed - clearly a Triathlete in the making!

In actual fact it was Martial Arts that really started my love for being physically fit. I still believe that it was the most fantastic grounding for a young kid. Discipline, a strong work ethic and the ability to take a regular beating (and keep coming back for more) were all fostered at the Salisbury Kung-Fu club over a 6 year period. I can still do press-ups on my index fingers!

It was around 1988 that I first heard about Triathlon and met up with a lively and infectiously enthusiastic chap called Dave Cerqua who had just started a Tri Club in Salisbury.

Triathlon seemed suitably wacky and left field (and didn't involve kicking a ball) so I signed up for my first event, the Swindon "Try a Tri" day, in the Spring of 1989.

I seem to remember finishing 13th, riding my Dawes Horizon touring bike and running in my Dunlop "Green Flash". Beaten in a sprint finish by my Mum, supporting from the side, taking photos (as she still does to this day!)

I was bitten by the bug and I haven't missed a Tri season since!

So, 20 odd years later, from Salisbury, to Leicester via Loughborough Uni, I have raced all over the world at all distances up to Ironman and feel truly privileged to have been involved in our great sport since it's early days in the UK.

My aspirations have always been modest. Perhaps lacking the "tools" to ever make it at the top level, I have always focused my efforts on Age Group racing. This approach has also offered me the opportunity to embark on the more esoteric races often "off limits" to the pro's - Marathon from Everest Base Camp anyone?

I have represented the GB AG team on a few occasions including Manchester, Lausanne, Nice and have won a little bit of silver (Plastic) ware along the way...

Supported by my wonderful Triathlete wife Claire and a bunch of brilliant mates, I continue to search out new races and new life experiences.

This years challenges are the Norseman Tri and maybe Challenge Barcelona, something I hope to blog about in detail later on. I'm also hoping to continue supporting Leicester Tri's ace (blind) Paratriathlete Haseeb Ahmad during his 2011 campaign.

It's gonna be a fun year - watch this space!


The Triathletes Guide to the Galaxy...

As Douglas Adams wrote in the opening paragraph to his brilliantly funny book..

"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

So, as one of the aforementioned "ape descended life forms" inhabiting this "insignificant little blue-green planet" what is my blog going to be about?

Well I'll tell you what it won't be..

It won't be anything highbrow or earth shattering!

In reality it'll most likely be a load of old nonsense out of which you ,the reader, might hopefully be able to discern the odd snippet that might prove useful (but I'm not making any promises).

Hopefully, together, we might learn something. Even if it's just a recipe for a really good flapjack or a tip for how to get Powerbar off your top tube!

I should say - these will be my ramblings from my own little world. I'll do my research where possible but most of what I say will be based on my own experiences and those of experts I trust and respect. Use the information that follows at your own risk!

I'll aim to include blog entries on anything that I might think my fellow swimmers, bikers, MTBers, runners and lovers of life might find interesting.

Hopefully, I'll talk about training, racing, kit, nutrition and a bit of what I'm up to when I'm not doing any of that stuff!

I hope you find it informative - or at least entertaining. 

Who knows, with a bit of luck, we might go somewhere to discovering the "Triathlete's Meaning of Life"....

I'm fairly sure it's not 42....